When Conservatism Is a Second Language

By Jeffrey Lord, The American Spectator

And so, another moderate fails.

Governor Romney is a good person, a great business leader.

But, alas, he is also a moderate Republican.

As were Herbert Hoover, Alf Landon, Wendell Willkie, Thomas E. Dewey, Gerald R. Ford, George H.W. Bush, Bob Dole and John McCain. Making Mitt Romney a historical asterisk as the tenth moderate GOP nominee (Dewey was nominated twice) to lose the White House.

The exceptions to the rule are Dwight Eisenhower, who won not because he was a moderate but because he was the general-hero of World War II. Richard Nixon campaigned as the moderate he was in 1960 and lost. By 1968 he had won the nomination of a party that had shifted back to its conservative roots and he campaigned accordingly — as he did in 1972. He won narrowly the second time, by a landslide the third. George H.W. Bush ran as the heir to Reagan in 1988 and won. Governing as a moderate he lost — and lost badly in his 1992 re-election effort. George W. Bush ran as a “compassionate conservative” — which is to say a moderate — in 2000 and 2004 and squeaked by the first time thanks to the Supreme Court, winning the second time by a bare 100,000 votes in Ohio.

On Tuesday night, it comes clear, as this is written using the latest Fox News figures, Mitt Romney lost to President Obama by 2,819,339 votes.

And the news ekes out that Moderate Nominee Number 10 Romney received some 3 million Republican votes less than Moderate Nominee Number 9 — John McCain in 2008.

Which is to say, 3 million base GOP voters simply refused to vote for Romney. Doing the available math, that means had those 3 million Republicans voted for Romney he would have, as this is written,  a margin of victory in the national popular vote of 180,661. Depending on the state spread, potentially an Electoral College victory as well.

Does the message get through here?

Well, for some in the GOP — no.

The usual call will now go up — just as it did in 1950 from two-time loser Dewey — that to nominate a conservative is to lose. Somehow heedless that it wasn’t Ronald Reagan and his conservatism that lost or almost lost the White House, it was this seemingly endless stream of very nice moderate Republicans.

Reasonable people can be expected to raise the point of just when that old joke attributed to Einstein will come clear. You know the one. That the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results. For Republicans, this translates as yet again nominating a moderate who is said to “move to the center,” “can attract women,” “get the youth vote” and “get the minority vote.”

The strategy has failed repeatedly for some 80 years. Say again…80 years!!!!! And yet there are still those out there who insist on doing the same thing over — and over and over and over –again.

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